"Tab. II. Africae, Complectens Africam Proprie Dictam...", Ptolemy/Mercator
Subject: Northern Africa
Period: 1730 (circa)
Publication: Ptolemy's Geographia
Color: Hand Color
18.1 x 13.2 inches
46 x 33.5 cm
Claudius Ptolemy was a mathematician, astronomer and geographer who worked in Alexandria, then a part of the Roman Empire, in the 2nd century AD. One of the most learned and influential men of his time, his theories dominated both astronomy and geography for nearly 1500 years. His writings were kept alive by Arabic scholars during the Middle Ages and reemerged in Europe during the Renaissance. The birth of printing led to wide dissemination of his great works on astronomy and geography. There were a number of editions of his Geographia beginning in 1477. These early editions contained maps based on his original writings, known as Ptolemaic maps. As geographic knowledge increased with the explorations of Columbus, Magellan, Cabot and others, maps of the New World were added, and maps of the Old World were revised. Ptolemy's Geographia continued to be revised and published by some of the most important cartographers including Martin Waldseemuller, Sebastian Munster, Giacomo Gastaldi, Jodocus Hondius, and Gerard Mercator (whose last edition was published in 1730).
Decorative Ptolemaic map of Northern Africa with the southern part of Sardinia and Sicily and Malta. The sea is stipple engraved and contains two very fanciful sea monsters. At the lower border are a lion and a leopard. A decorative title cartouche completes the composition. Although Mercator is most renowned today for the projection he popularized and for first using the term 'atlas' for a collection of maps, he devoted much of his life to his Ptolemaic maps. The maps were beautifully engraved as nearly as possible to their original form and are the most decorative of Ptolemaic maps.
References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #235-3.
On a sheet with a Strasburg bend and lily watermark and a light extraneous crease adjacent to the centerfold. There are a couple minor spots and marginal soiling and creasing.